Dell’s PA Sensor Story

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Dell’s CardioMEMS™ HF System Story

Dell is a 61-year-old minister, father and grandfather from North Carolina who retired from working in security 10 years ago. While he was busy keeping others safe, he was feeling very insecure about managing his heart failure symptoms, with which he had been struggling for nearly 15 years. He also suffers from diabetes. 

Heart failure is a condition that develops over time and can be caused by a variety of underlying diseases. For Dell, it was two bouts with pneumonia in 2001 that caused his heart failure. Just after September 11, 2001, Dell had been working very long hours and found himself short of breath and not feeling well. Thinking he had bronchitis, he went to the emergency room after work one day. Once there, emergency room doctors diagnosed him with heart failure.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to contract or relax properly. As a result, your heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. There is no cure, but many people with heart failure who receive proper treatment go on to live long, full and enjoyable lives. Symptoms of heart failure may include shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle pain or weakness. It might also cause problems during exercise, such as lightheadedness, dizziness or nausea.

For many years, Dell was able to manage his heart failure symptoms, but about nine years ago, he began having more health problems. This included more trouble breathing, which led to more time spent in the hospital. In July of 2015, Dell experienced something he characterizes as the worst episode of his entire life. After a trip to Baltimore, he began coughing up blood-tinged mucus and he couldn’t breathe. He was so sick that his doctors put him on a machine for five days that takes over the work of the heart and lungs, which is called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. 

He was in the hospital for more than two weeks when his doctor recommended he receive the CardioMEMS™ HF System. It is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure (HF) monitoring system proven to significantly reduce HF hospital admissions and improve quality of life in New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III patients. Since receiving his implant on September 23, 2015, Dell has not experienced any hospitalizations.

The CardioMEMS HF System measures pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate through a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that moves blood from the heart to the lungs). Once the device is implanted, patients take daily pressure readings from the comfort of their home and wirelessly transmit the data to their clinician for continuous monitoring.

The sensor is small and does not require any batteries or wires. The patient will not feel it, and it will not interfere with daily activities or other implanted devices such as a pacemaker or defibrillator. The system includes an electronic unit that is used to take the daily measurements. This is a simple process that takes only a few minutes. There is no pain or sensation during the readings. 

Dell continues his daily exercise and ministry services, and enjoys keeping busy. He is eager to share his story with others and encourage them to learn more about the CardioMEMS HF System

Read more stories like Dell’s.

This story reflects one person’s experience; not everyone will experience the same results. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of your treatment options. St. Jude Medical does not provide medical services or advice as part of this website. For a list of possible complications, refer to this important safety information.